You want to do a ski season but you have no idea where to start – sound familiar? I can guarantee that you are not alone. There are thousands of jobs available each and every winter, across a huge number of different ski resorts, all sounding very similar. So, where you do you even start……?
Choosing a Resort
Start talking to people – friends and family who have been skiing or done ski seasons to get a feel for where you might want to go. Different resorts each has its own charm and offers something different. If you want a party scene you may choose Val d’Isere, St Anton or Saalbach. If you want to be not too far from an airport for friends and family to visit you may choose Morzine or Chamonix. If you want a huge ski area you may choose one of the 3 Valleys in France. Everyone has a favourite resort so start collecting some recommendations!
If you have absolutely no preference at all then you can instead start thinking about what you might what to do for work during your ski season.
Choosing a Role
There really is something for everyone out there. The most popular route is chalet work, seeing as the volume of chalet companies recruiting each year is huge, meaning there is plenty of choice. Within a chalet, the choice of roles are generally as follows:
- Chalet Chef/Cook
- Chalet Manager
- Chalet Host
Within a chalet company you will also find roles outside of the chalet such as Resort Management, Senior Chalet Management (overseeing a number of chalets), Massage/Spa roles, HR Management, Ops Management and some office based roles. Outside of chalet based work you will find opportunities such as transfer drivers, childcare, accountancy, ski instructing and more.
Be sure to think sensibly about your skill set and read job descriptions carefully to make sure you are applying to roles which you can actually do and which you have the relevant experience for. You will not be doing yourselves any favours when choosing roles which you’ll struggle to perform well in.
Choosing a Company
It may be too soon to actually choose a particular company at this stage but you can definitely start to think about the type of company you would like to work for and the level of service you wish to be offering. Silver Swan Recruitment mainly works at the luxury end of the market so majority of our positions are with 5* ski operators and privately owned chalets – all of which require a good level of previous service or catering experience. However, there are also a large number of companies who have a much more relaxed, ‘home from home’ feel where 5* service levels are not required.
If your career is hospitality focused and you are looking for a role to further your career, to earn you a decent salary and to gain some valuable experience then you want to be aiming at the higher end chalets. However, if your season is more to have fun, meet some new people and do something a bit different then you may choose to avoid the high-end companies and focus your job search on companies who can guarantee you ski time every day, who don’t mind if you let your hair down on an evening and who don’t require a huge amount of previous hospitality experience.
Private Chalets vs Ski Operators
Don’t be fooled in thinking going to work in a Privately-Owned Chalet is the only place you’ll be paid a higher way. More and more people are looking for private work thinking it’ll earn them better salaries – this is no longer the case. We actually have a number of ski operators who offer higher salaries than some of the private chalets we work with.
So, what’s the difference? Working privately means you are employed directly by the chalet owner, they themselves (or their PA/Chalet Manager) will interview you and will decide whether you are right or not. Some owners will be the only ones to use their chalet so you will be looking after them and only them throughout the winter – not usually all the time but for a large number of weeks. Other private chalets will still sell their chalet to paying guests but will use it regularly themselves with paying guests coming to stay when they are not there. You will be part of a much smaller team, you are often treated like family and you often get a few empty weeks. The level of service is often very high in privately owned chalets so you do generally need some good 5* experience.
A ski operator will rent a number of chalets from the chalet owners and manage them for the season. You will therefore have no involvement with the chalet owner and instead the ski company will be your employer. You will be part of a much larger team so often works well with the more social people, there will be a formal training course at the start of the season to ensure consistency across the chalets, you will rarely have empty weeks but will mean you’ll have a bigger tip potential. There is a huge range of ski companies from the lower level, requiring little experience to the top level requiring a very high level of 5* experience. Some people prefer the smaller operators, some prefer the larger operators. There really is something for everyone!
When you have a clear idea of what you want to do and where you want to go it’s then time to get the ball rolling.
- Write a good CV
- Keep it to 2 pages
- Include a photo
- Clearly outline your previous employment and your key responsibilities
- If your relevant hospitality experience is not your most recent role/s then have a section above your Employment History called ‘Relevant Experience’ – then underneath you can have ‘Other Experience’
- Include references (and give your referees heads up that they will be contacted, it often prompts quicker responses)
- Use specialised recruitment agencies to help guide you through the process
- We spend time during your registration to really understand what you are looking for and what you hope to achieve during your season
- We match your skills and personality to suitable roles. We offer lengthy probationary periods to our clients so it’s in our best interest to get the match right first time – so we really do do all that we can to ensure you are put forward to the right companies who you’ll have a great season with
- We offer you a small selection of well match companies and then arrange interviews on your behalf with you preferred position
- By using a recruitment agency to help secure your chalet role means you have a relationship built ready for your next step as we can then help you secure a villa or a yacht role for the following summer season. We can also help you find a permanent position – resort-based or office-based or in a Private Household once your seasonal days are over
- Use specialised job boards. There are a number of job boards available which are specific to the ski industry and so can be a one-stop-shop for you to view a huge range of different roles with different companies. We can recommend:
- Once you have found a company you are interested in – whether that be through the recommendation of an agency or by seeing a role advertised on a job board then definitely visit that company’s website to familiarise yourself with their product and services BEFORE you apply and definitely BEFORE you have your interview
Once you have been offered your dream role and you have signed your contract, please stay in regular contact with your new employer. If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to ask and be as responsive as you can with any paperwork or questions they send your way.
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